A huge moonfish which is the only known fish species that is warm-blooded has been found dead on a popular beach in southern Spain.
The Lampris guttatus, commonly known as the opah or moonfish, was discovered in the Calblanque Regional Park in the municipalities of Cartagena and La Union in the south-eastern Spanish region of Murcia on 7th November.
The moonfish measured 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) in length and weighed 35 kilogrammes (5.5 stone).
Until recently, it has been extremely uncommon in the Mediterranean but in recent years purportedly because of global warming numbers have apparently been increasing, as this image proves.
The incident was shared on the regional park’s Facebook page where it has been widely circulated.
Alongside images of the colourful moonfish, a message said: “This fish, which lives in the depths, is the only fish considered warm-blooded as it is capable of keeping all its organs at a stable temperature.”
The large fish was first described by Danish zoologist Morten Thrane Brunnich in 1788.
The six species of Lampris live in mostly non-overlapping geographical ranges, and can be easily recognised by their body shape and colourful pattern.
Facebook user ‘Sara Ruiz Perez’ said: “It’s a shame not to see him alive, it’s precious.”
Netizen ‘Juana Uribe’ wrote: “Really amazing fish. Such a shame.”
‘Ramon Martinez Zamora’ commented: “The ‘Royal Moonfish’ (Lampris guttatus) is a totally warm-blooded fish, the body temperature of the real moonfish is about 5ºC higher than that of the sea.”